Trusting and Dependable Sibling Relationships as Social Capital Among African American Youth

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Journal of Substance Use

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Background: Although it is well known that the relationship between siblings has demonstrable influence on positive youth development, little is known about which aspects of the sibling relationship influence health promotion in African Americans. Research on the role that siblings play in buffering the exposure and use of marijuana and participation in risky sexual behavior is rare, despite the documented link between risky sex and marijuana use among African Americans.

Methods: In the current study, we use the National Comorbidity Survey- Adolescent (NCS-A), which is a nationally representative face-to-face survey of adolescents aged 13-18 years to investigate the extent to which a dependable and a trusting sibling relationship moderates the relationship between marijuana use and risky sexual behavior.

Results: Trusting and dependable sibling relationships moderated the relationship between marijuana use and condom use, but not between marijuana use and number of sexual partners.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that interventions aiming at nurturing and strengthening sibling relationships, especially social support, may have an impact on reducing risky behaviors among African American youth.


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